Create Your Own Custom BlackBerry Browser Launcher

By Kevin Michaluk on 29 Jan 2009 01:44 am EST

Create Your Own Web Launcher

*UPDATE* The good folks at have decided that $7 is too much for individual users to be paying for the service and have reduced the price to just $3, any users that have purchased a launcher under the $7 price point will be issued partial refunds for their purchases as per their 30 day satisfaction guarantee policy. Awesome and now more affordable, Bonus! *

Granted this *should* be something you can do within the native BlackBerry operating system and at $7 $3 a pop (unlimited usage/distribution rights once you create one) the service isn't is now super cheap for individual use, but I know there's going to be a lot of BlackBerry users and abusers and businesses out there who are all over this...

A new website recently launched,, which allows you to create your own custom web browser shortcuts for your BlackBerry homescreen. The process only takes a few minutes, is pretty straight forward (just read/follow the instructions on the site and on the readme file once you receive your .zip) and it works. After first visiting I went through their process - in the screenshot above you're looking at the custom launcher I created for my BlackBerry Storm (more images after the jump). For lack of creative skills, I used pictures of myself for the two icon states, which when clicked opens the Today's BlackBerry Posts for our mobile-optimized CrackBerry forums.

Key features include:

  • Support for localized titles and descriptions in all major languages supported on BlackBerry devices.
  • Users can upload custom icon images (PNG or GIF) and even specify different icons for different target devices since not all devices use the same icon size.
  • Support for defining custom rollover/focus icons as well.
  • Support for all version 4.0 and up devices.
  • Unlimited and unrestricted redistribution rights.

The custom continuous build engine developed by allows the creation and delivery of the final JAD/COD/ALX files within minutes of the user completing their payment via PayPal. When I went through the process I had my .zip in my inbox in four minutes. They include both the .alx file for Desktop Manager installation and .cod/.jad file if you want to upload it to a web server for wireless install (I show the OTA install in the screen caps).

Definitely a cool service. I couldn't help but chuckle after I installed my custom launcher. Not so long ago RIM went through a phase of 'partnerships' and press announcements where the 'apps' being launched were nothing more than these browser shortcuts. Gotta love that a little entrepreneurial drive and ingenuity can now get that done automatically in 4 minutes for $7 $3.

My Custom Website Launcher

My Custom Web Browser Launcher
Dictate all of the details: Name, Vendor, Description

My Custom Web Browser Launcher
Install via Desktop Manager or OTA (shown) if you upload to a server

My Custom Web Browser Launcher
Seems to work fine! Be sure to pay attention to OS versions, icon sizes, etc.

My Custom Web Browser Launcher
Upload two images - not rolled over shown

My Custom Web Browser Launcher
When selected a second image loads (I blued myself out)

My Custom Web Browser Launcher
Launch whatever URL you want in the native web browser

Topics: Apps

Reader comments

Create Your Own Custom BlackBerry Browser Launcher


I clarified that sentence in the beginning so it shouldn't be confusing now. $7 creates your web launcher and gives you the files. Once you have it you can distribute it however you want (to as many people, devices, etc).

The $7 is maybe considered pricey if you're just making one for yourself to use on your own BlackBerry (considering you can buy a whole theme for that price), but is pretty darn cheap considered to what you could potentially be charged for a 'custom' service like this. Say you have a business with 1000 BlackBerrys and want to give every one of them an icon that launches the company site - that's less than a penny per install.

I remember when we had the first version of our Launcher developed (two years ago now - before the site even was made public)... I was hunting around for devs to make one of these for us that would open the CrackBerry mobile site... I was quoted anywhere from $100 to $300. I wish this would have been out then!

I will post a YouTube video in the coming days and takes a few clicks from your Berry :)

If you are talking about something like Jonathan Fisher's Web Shortcut apps then that is a different creature all together. I believe the service is intended mostly for what Kevin was talking about in his own experience with looking for a professional commercial quality launcher for CB. I don't really think is targeting BB home users directly, but is instead providing a service for people who want to create promotional launchers for sites they own/operate for distribution to their end users.

I do recall seeing a similar custom service that does this with a several day turn around time and they wanted $40 for unlimited redistribution rights. Can't recall that guys name though.

So being a community site moderator at another site, I do see a value in the $7 fee, besides, a company could also OTA push the launcher via their BES.

there are several fellow crack addicts in the forums who will make the launcher for free or VERY cheap. and go to the launchers.. many are listed there and you can contact them to make you a launcher for either free or VERY cheap (a couple bucks i think)

i love my storm, but this is just getting out of hand...this phone was supposed to be for the "common person"...not the millionare business man who has money to piss away on apps...somebody needs to start rivaling the free stuff you can get on an iphone...

millionaire* i'm sorry for mis-spelling for all of you who will call me some sort of "inbred elementary school drop out" for posting a comment that's not licking the storm's ass...

I wish more people would do the google thing and find out just how eazy this is...

in Fact...I'll save everyone the google...

* Launcher
* Created by

package "SAME AS FILE NAME";

import net.rim.blackberry.api.browser.Browser;
import net.rim.blackberry.api.browser.BrowserSession;
import net.rim.device.api.ui.UiApplication;

class WebLink extends UiApplication{

public static void main(String[] args){
WebLink instance = new WebLink();

public WebLink() {
BrowserSession site = Browser.getDefaultSession();


Now all users need to do is pay $20 for signing keys and create whatever they want.

I started making launchers when the storm was released and created over 200 FOR THE COMMUNITY. I don't give out the files...but I haven't stopped hosting ANY OF THEM. All I'm asking is donations. This is a load of crock...more people need to do things for the good of the community!!

Check out

Shame on this company for exploiting naive users.

sorry but I don't think your logic is valid, otherwise you would have to say shame on MS for selling MS Office because Open Office exists. Or shame on MS and Apple for selling an OS because Linux/Unix exists.

That's a different beast altogether. I'm always for support an opensource/free/FOSS alternative where it makes sense...and this is where it makes sense. Why should Crackberry be plugging a company when it's own users are providing these same services and don't get an ounce of public press?

I'm not saying hey...he should have plugged my site long ago, but if you go in to the Storm forums...and even a few other blackberry forums and ask what I've service level and response time to people's is second to none and I haven't directly charged for anything.

Good on your for providing a free service! I don't think you can get mad at this company or crackberry though.

People typically pay for things versus look for a free alternative for a few reasons. Superior product, superior level of service, superior level of support and a higher level of convenience and trust.

Your comments prompted me to check out the BBLauncher site. For $3, or even the original cost of $7, it appears to deliver on the reasoning stated above.

Product: You can create multiple launchers in one transaction. It is not just a launcher for the Storm but you can provide different sized graphics for each device and cater to different OS versions. This isn't creating just one launcher, but several. And you retain the rights to distribute however and to whomever you want. You started doing this when the Storm arrived. Do you offer for other devices? Though some Storm owners have yet to realize it, Blackberrys did exist before the Storm.

Service and Convenience: Having an automated service that works immediately is hard to argue with. Knowing a guy who can do it for free is great, but can you get it built for me at 4am with a 4 minute turnaround time? Do you have a website that clearly lists your terms of service? If I contact you to make me a free one, do I have to start emailing you with graphics file attachments and back and forth to get it all right? Time is money. The interaction time involved in your free service isn't free. It's opportunity cost where I could be doing other things. That also addresses the people who say to google it and do it yourself. No thanks, I have better things to do. I could also build themes for free or code my own apps for that matter. It is possible. But again, I have more valuable things to do than learn how to do something I don't really care to learn. This is the same reason I go to Starbucks and buy coffee or go through drive through. I could make my own coffee for 'free' but do not have the time or desire.

Support/Trust: I am not saying you are not a trustworthy individual. I am sure you are. But that trust isn't portrayed in a forum to people who just 'show up' looking for service. To the people who get to know you by way of your posts and efforts your level of worth is known, but that does not help people who are seeking a solution immediately. Do you have a web site to advertise your help? Does it clearly list the service and terms and support offering? I don't think you can bash a site like crackberry for not promoting some 'guy' who does stuff for free. What do they link to? Your email address? What happens when you get 500 requests in a day and your level of surface drops? Do you begin to charge then to make up for your new found lack of free time? People expected a free and quick turnaround. And if you do have a site, have you tried to market it? Does it portray that you are a person doing this or a company? There is a difference.

To each his own. You can make a case for or against anything in this world. People need to learn to see both sides of the story and respect others when the opinions vary.

- Phil

I'm going to do one. It's pretty cool, to have something @ the ready like your youtube account so you can show your videos at a drop of a hat.


not really related, but does anyone know what that "arrow/triangle" is at the top, right above the time in the home screen screenshots? i don't have that on my phone..


I might pay the $7 if they could make the link open in Opera instead of the Blackberry browser.

I think some people fail to realize, you are not forced to purchase Apps. Some are good, some are bad, some are free, some are exspensive.

Let the market decide if an App is worth its weight. To come on and slam the App and say things are "ridiculous" and mentioning "millionaires" is out of hand. The app is $7 (now $3)... If you don't think it is worth it, Don't buy it.

It is great when things are free, but there is no need to trash someone who make an App and tries to make some Money.

The competition within App production is what leads to better products. Clearly, if there is a free product that does the same thing, people will not buy the App.

I just think some of the comments are a bit overboard.

Wowza.... some varying opinions on this one!

phikai - free or paid, we don't discriminate on what we blog on. I'll shoot you a msg. We can get you featured on the blogs.

So if you can do what you want with it....couldn't one person on CB buy it and then email the file to anyone who wants it?

Of course, that wouldn't be a nice thing to do.

$3 a pop to make something similiar to a Shortcut??? Nah uh.. Maybe if they made a program I could download onto my computer to make as many shortcuts as I want for $3. Hell, even $7. But not $3 a pop. That is money better spent on like Starbucks or something. :)

sound like whoever was reading the comments from the bblauncher site heard our cries.. $3 is much more reasonable.

As for Phikai, like i mentioned before he has been making them for free for a while now and you can access all his awesome launchers through the BB storm wiki or directly at his site.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think its crazy how when someone releases an app after hours upon hours of work and tries to sell it (ie. run a business) - regardless of price, people jump on their back because the price is never right. If it's too much don't buy it. I don't think I've ever seen people complaining about the price of the device in the first place ... we can complain all day long about a buying a $3 app because it's "too expensive" - but who is complaining about the price of the $500 device is goes on?

I agree with Phil and Azeis. Wasn't there an app on the iphone that cost $999? The point is I think we are to quick to jump on people that create mobile phone apps when they do not offer if for free. After all it did cost them something to make it. Like most people, I appreciate free apps like viigo and google maps but lets not crucifiy people/companies for following the norm in society. After all, how many of us would be willing to work our current jobs for free? Don't we pay for pretty much every other product/service.

People who write software have a living to make. These people have rent and/or mortgages to pay as well as eletricity and phone bills too. They may even need a PC or two not to mention a BlackBerry so at $3 a pop, you work out how many you need to sell just to may your way for just one month.

I produce software (CrackMem, et al) for free - because I am in the enviable position of not needing the money. I felt that my software was useful and neccessary. It took me and others a long time to write and perfect it. It is still not completely right. Version 3.1 was downloaded 6500 times. So far I have made $150 from donations from 9 seperate people.

If I were depending on CrackMem for living, I would now be on the street.


With software that has a price tag set by the manufacturer, you have a clear choice. Buy it or don't.

My take on pricing is that if roughly 10% of people moan about your prices, you have it about right. I used to run a pricing dept.for a multi-national company.

well i think we are allowed to voice our opinions and simply we are stating that we would not buy the product for $7. We also are stating what we would pay and it is up to the software author to decide if it is worth changing the price in order to get more sales. maybe it will be worth it to him and maybe not but it is simply feedback that we are giving.

in this case the author decided to drop the price by over 50% probably because of this thread and it may very well get him the exposure he needs to start selling these things!

yes you are allowed to voice your opinion. Hearing opinions and experiences is what makes this site so good. Some people take it a bit too far. When people put hrs and hrs into a project, totally crushing the program is not needed.

Furthermore, insulting the producer is just wrong.

I have nothing to do with this APP. I don't have the ability to make an APP. I do however, apprieciate all the APPs that people make. I have bought and obtained for free many Apps,I just think the people who produce the Apps should get a bit of respect.

I am trying this and getting an error after completing the build telling me that there is nothing in my cart....any suggestions from anyone as to what i might be doing wrong?

Is your browser set to accept cookies?

Are you behind a proxy that could interfere with cookies?

I had no problem ordering with Firefox 3, I even checked and I could add to the cart using IE 7 and Opera 9.63

Wait.. is it $3 PER launcher? Like you make a launcher for siteA.. and you can distribute that as much as you want but that's it? Or can you make a launcher for siteA.. and then make one for siteB-Z.. ya know?

Thats a great launcher and all....whatever.

I want apps that do things my phone already can't do with a simple few clicks!

$3 is better but this application should be $1 or free.

With the new OS for the Storm we really don't need to be spending as much money as we used to with per say the older Curve one. No more need for an application to convert your e-mail to HTML and such....

These newer phones should do most of these "basic" things for us. Just as the new iPhone & Storm do. I'm only familiar with those two so forgive me you G1 people.

Talklock....SwooshPhotos....this app..._+ more can eff of AND blackberry needs to raise up some and fix their OS upgrade already.

And if an application costs more than $3 and all it does is something simple than people should simply just not buy it.

If I pay $10 or $30 for an application for this Storm it better be damn near amazing or something EXTRA-ordinary...know what I'm sayin'...